Punjab Congress general secretary and MLA Arvind Khanna missed casting his vote for the presidential elections as polling for the Presidential elections was held on Thursday. From the Akali-BJP front, jailed Bholath MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur exercised her franchise after the Punjab and Haryana high court allowed her interim bail to cast her vote.
A press release issued by Khanna's office in the evening said that he had to abstain from voting because he suffered severe food poisoning and was advised not to travel, and that he had informed the party high command.
There were reports, however, that Khanna was returning from abroad and his flight got delayed, because of which he was unable to reach the Vidhan Sabha to cast his vote.
All senior leaders, including CM Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh, leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal voted. Amarinder and Jakhar were among the first ones to vote, around 9.30 am.
In all, 45 Congress legislators, along with one attached independent MLA, cast votes from the UPA fold, which has former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate. From the NDA fold, which has former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma as candidate, 56 SAD MLAs, 12 from the BJP and two attached members voted.
As per the constitutional provisions, each Punjab MLA's vote carries a value of 116. Other than the legislators, there are 13 MPs from Punjab whose votes carry a value of 708 each.
NO SPECIAL TREATMENT: BIBI
As SAD Jagir Kaur, who serving a five-year term for forcible abortion of her daughter's foetus, she arrived at the assembly around 1 pm. She said she was not getting special treatment in the jail: "Facilities inside jail for every inmate are of high standard." Speaking about honouring an IGP at a function in the jail, she said that the honour was not from her but from the management of the jail gurdwara, of which she is a member.